And how to make sense of it...
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When you're seeking help for a psychological problem, you can quickly discover that there are so many different therapies to choose from that trying to decide can make you anxious!
This short article will help you to decide which to choose and which to avoid.
Something that is essential for you to understand: A professional therapist will not think you're mad, stupid, or should just 'pull yourself together'. A professional therapist will listen to you carefully and seek to truly understand your difficulty - and they will never talk you in 'posh' language or in a way that you would not understand. It is actually very important for the therapist to make sure you understand exactly what sort of therapy is going to be used to sort out your problem and why.
There are really only four different types of therapy, and though each one has lots of 'subdivisions', the basic therapy is the same. The four are:
This takes two distinct forms: one is regression therapy. where you talk to the therapist and the other is suggestion therapy, where the therapist talks to you, often referred to as 'solution focussed'. The first is used to resolve and discharge unresolved issues, usually from childhood - and here, you'd be mostly talking about your formative years. The second is to help condition your subconscious to be able to do something it currently does not let you do, or to stop doing someting you currently are unable to stop doing on your own. In both styles of working, the therapist will usually ask you lots of questions before starting the actual hypnosis session itself.
NUMBER OF SESSIONS: This will vary according to the presenting problem. For simple things like phobias or dealing with habits, maybe 1 - 4 sessions. For more complicated issues it can be as many as 18 sessions or so.
This is rather similar to Hypnotherapy; it often tends to be slower, though for some conditions and situations it is more reliable or appropriate. Also, not every person or every situation is suitable for treament with hypnosis but only a professional therapist will be able to accurately advise. Many Hypnotherapists can work using psychotherapy and many Psychotherapists use hypnosis. Once again, it might take the form of investigation into past trauma or might be purely solution-focussed, attempting to resolve the presenting issue. The older 'standard' models of psychotherapy (including C.B.T.) are still effective but usually slower than later models developed in the last ten years or so.
NUMBER OF SESSIONS: Again, variable... but with 'standard' psychotherapy it will usually be a minimum of 6 sessions and can be longer. Generally the more modern versions are faster.
This form of working is usually the most gentle, though is inclined to be much slower than other therapies, sometimes keeping the client in therapy (all modalities tend to be referred to as 'therapy') for many years. Counselling often fulfils a different purpose from the other two therapies mentioned here, in that it often operates as a support system for those who, for one reason or another, are unable to cope with life on their own. Counselling is in general less dynamic, less intrusive, and less directed than other therapies but is no less effective in the long term.
NUMBER OF SESSIONS: Usually indeterminate, though the client can quit without ill effect whenever they want to as a rule.
Essentially the same as psychotherapy but with a more determinedly scientific approach and with little or no dependence on hypnosis (though it's fair to say that many psychologists do use hypnosis). EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprogramming) is one and BWRT is another. Many of the modern therapies are based in neuroscience and can achieve truly rapid results in the hands of a good practitioner.
NUMBER OF SESSIONS: Variable, from 1 to many, according to the therapist, the model they use and the presenting difficulty.
BWRT is a psychological therapy developed in 2011 by UK therapist trainer Terence Watts and has enjoyed a speedy rise in popularity in the UK and worldwide, thanks to the success it has enjoyed from the start and its rapid resolution of problems. So profoundly successful is it that it's now employed as the main therapy in a South African mental health clinic, dealing with, among other things, the aftermath of violent trauma.
You can find a professional BWRT Practitioner under the 'Practitioners' tab on this site, or under the 'Find a Therapist' link at https://www.bbrs.org.uk
There are several things that might influence your choice of therapist, locality being one of them... BUT it would be folly to choose a therapist just because they're close to where you live, on the basis that 'therapy is therapy whoever delivers it.'
A course of therapy from a good therapist can change your life for the better forever so it makes sense to consider travelling some distance if necessary to find the best practitioner you can. Also, many practitioners work by Skype these days, so you have a wide choice! Look for somebody you feel comfortable with - never go for a session without speaking to the therapist on the 'phone for a few minutes. If you feel at ease and they seem to be familiar with your problem, that's a good sign. If you have any misgivings at all, then it's best not to go to that person - you need to feel totally at ease and confident with the therapist, as if you have known them for a long time.
Put simply, a good therapist is one with whom you feel at ease and who clearly illustrates that they understand your problem and has worked with it before.
Fortunately, the internet makes it easy to research to begin with. Type the therapist's name into a search engine and see what's been said about him or her, and how many entries there are. And don't just look at the number of entries - move along to 4th page and see if the entries are still mostly about the same person and that there is nothing unfavourable being said... if the name passes that test, it's a good sign.
Now look at their website. If there are a high number of spelling and grammar errors (not just one or two) then they might be only as careful when performing the therapy as when they write about it. Look for their professional qualifications and associations they belong to... and if you can't find them, it's definitely not a good sign. To be doubly certain, check out the websites of their accrediting or registering bodies and see how long they've been establised. In general, older is better. Professional therapists are required to be insured, so asking who they're insured with can be informative.
Most therapists can and do work on a very wide range of issues; don't base your choice on what they say on their website though - give them a call and see if they are knowledegeable about your particular problem.
There are literally scores - maybe hundreds - of qualifications for therapists, though there is no 'proper' or 'standard' one. For this reason, we are not going to list any of them here and most of the time the therapists website will tell you about their training and accreditations. If not, stay away!
We hope you've found this brief article helpful and can promise any therapist listed on this site or at https://www.bbrs.org.uk has been fully vetted, trained, and approved.